Google seems to have just launched new functionality for people who are logged into their accounts – you can “promote” or “demote” specific natural search results with a click – and you can even comment on different search results! Comments seem to be “public” comments – I have only seen a couple of examples where there are comments from others – maybe Google is rolling out the public part of commenting slowly – since it isn’t in my account yet.
Question – does this informal “voting” for sites have an affect on natural search results seen by people who are NOT logged into their accounts? Does this commenting show up? If so, Google will need to consider that there are a lot of people who will quickly figure out how to game this system… User generated content (UGC) cuts both ways – and adding it into the search algorithm, even if it is minor, could have a significant affect on the way that natural search results are accessed and optimized for. According to an interview in the Wall Street Journal, Google will not “initially” base search results on voting or comments – however with all of that great data at their disposal, will it not be really tempting to have it influence ranking to some degree?
Interesting addition – but I am really concerned about whether people will “game” this system (seems like the Black Hat Killer App!).